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Snooping around with Snoop Dogg

A question-and-answer session with the rapper
/ Source: Billboard

Ten years in the music business is a long time, especially for a rapper. The fickle tastes of rap fans often see many artists here today and gone tomorrow. Not so for Snoop Dogg.

The Long Beach, Calif., native has not only maintained a thriving music career but has branched out to become an entrepreneur, clothing designer, label owner and film/TV star, all while maintaining a relationship with his peers and fans that is unparalleled in hip-hop. From his 1993 debut, “Doggy Style” (Death Row), to his latest set, “Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Bo$$” (Doggystyle/Priority/Capitol), the rapper continues to raise the bar as an entertainer.

In this exclusive Q&A, Snoop Dogg talks about his career, his fans and his goals.

Did you ever expect the success that you have had thus far?
Nope. I was just doing it to be doing it. It was something that I loved and I was having fun doing it, but I never really had that thought in my mind because I didn’t have a picture of that success even happening. I just wanted to work hard and be in a position that if it ever did happen, I would have earned it instead of someone just giving it to me.

When did you first realize that you were a star?
I never really paid attention to the numbers or how I did. It was never a numbers thing. It was about the people putting me in a position where they wanted me to be. Once people started putting me in that position, I had to cater my lifestyle and my music according to them. They make me who I am. It was more about me being personal with the people and trying to stay on point with them.

What is your favorite Snoop Dogg album?
I don’t even know. All of them have meant a lot to me. I was going through completely different things with every record that I’ve worked on. That’s what I love about my albums. Every record is reflective of a time in my life where I was going through some things, and the record expressed that. So it’s hard to make a decision and say one record is better than the others. I have to look at all of them as a whole. I just feel like all the work that I’ve done to this point has been a great depiction of my heart and whatever it was that I was feeling at that time.

Why did you get involved in the movie business?
There were many reasons. Considering that most artists only last so long in the rap game and then they are forgotten so fast — it’s a wrap if you don’t have a hot record out. So I thought, ’If I had other hot commodities associated with me when it was time to drop a record, there would be people still with me whether I had a hot record or not.’ That’s why I wanted to create that bond and that love between the public and myself by creating things that were within the realm of Snoop Dogg.

You mentioned the bond you have with fans, and that is evident. How did you develop that? And what does it mean to you to continue to have that a decade into your career?
That just shows that I’ve been dedicated to what I do. I’m also thankful to God for putting me in a position where people can listen to me, respect me, and appreciate the music that I do. It makes me want to make better music. It also helps me to be more creative, to where it all comes off real swell. After 10 years in the game, it’s finally looking like this was all worth doing.

Having had success as an artist and as an actor, why did you then decide to enter the business side of entertainment by launching the Doggystyle label?
Basically, I just wanted to let the world see that the talent that I believe in is worth believing in. If they hadn’t given me a shot then I wouldn’t be where I am, so I just wanted to give a few shots back. I feel like the artists that I put on my label are definitely superstars, and I wanted to put them in the spotlight.

In addition to all of that, you have also done things like the Snoop Dogg doll, Snoop Dogg clothing, MTV’s “Doggy Fizzle Televizzle” and the Girls Gone Wild project. How important was it for you to diversify?
It was all necessary. Things were already bigger and better, so TV and movies were just new avenues for me to showcase my talents and show that I’m more than just a rapper. Those other business projects, like the dolls, open up more and more opportunities for me and all the people I’m associated with.

What is next for you?
I recently wrapped a mix tape, Volume 1, which is out right now. It introduces all of my artists to let people know that they’re coming. Then we plan on dropping a 213 album and an Eastsidaz album. The 213 is Warren G, Nate Dogg and I. That will be coming at the end of the year, and the Eastsidaz will be before that.